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What is Financial Wellness?

We see the headlines all too often – Americans are struggling to make ends meet financially.

Individuals across the country have trouble paying bills on time, can’t cover unexpected expenses and struggle to pay for necessary amenities like food and housing. The Financial Health Network (FHN) reports that 42 million people are financially vulnerable, meaning they struggle with almost every aspect of their financial lives.

FHN research also shows that 37% of Americans aren’t confident they will meet their long-term financial goals.

These stats represent poor “financial wellness,” a term used often in the banking and finance sector. You’ll also see it on Sunrise Banks’s website – in fact, our mission is to be “the most innovative bank empowering financial wellness.”

Sounds well and good, but what exactly does it mean? Read on.

Definition, Please

Financial wellness can mean different things to different people. Some might define the term as having enough money to buy a house or sufficiently save for retirement. Others would argue that financial health is living without large amounts of debt.

Generally, most financial professionals would agree that financial health refers to the ability to pay bills and cover necessary expenses.

At Sunrise, financial health means being able to cover your expenses and start saving. But, maybe more importantly, it means having the power to create your own financial rules, and not being beholden to any person or institution, whether that’s a payday loan shop or other lender.

We also believe that financial wellness is something that should be easy to obtain for anyone, no matter their race, religion, immigrant status, gender or ethnicity. Having a tight grasp on general financial literacy is a necessary component of financial wellness, too.

In short, Sunrise Banks believes financial wellness to be the power to make your own financial decisions, on your own terms.

The Path to Financial Wellness

The journey towards financial health isn’t cut and dry, and poses quite a few roadblocks. For starters, money management isn’t talked about enough – it’s not a curriculum mainstay in public education, and the topic is often thought of as too personal or even taboo.

This needs to change. The more we talk about money, the more knowledge we can gain. General financial literacy should be accessible to everyone and a mandatory course for school-aged children. At the same time, a distinction between healthy and unhealthy debt should be made.

Healthy financial solutions, like those offered through Self or TrueConnect, should be promoted to consumers as well.  Young people need to realize the importance of saving for retirement and develop smart financial habits early in order to avoid long-term money problems.

Unfortunately, too many people struggle financially, to the point that “financial wellness” likely seems abstract and unattainable. All the more reason healthy financial products and services should be promoted to these folks – they need to know there are tools that can help them succeed.

Sunrise Banks is committed to ensuring each of its clients has the opportunity to attain financial wellness. Learn more here.

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